This being human is a guest house,
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
fromThe Guest House
by Jalaluddin Rumi
I love entertaining. Inviting friends and family to visit and then creating the just-right menu is so gratifying to me. I envision setting the table, welcoming guests, and spending hours over enticing food, drink, and conversation.
Oh, the conversation! Among my friends, I am famous for my 4-hour meals. Not that we do any marathon eating, but we DO enjoy extended time to push back from the table and rest and savor…and BE.
It probably harkens back to my Italian childhood where we told stories and reminisced on long Sunday afternoons after church at my Grandma and Auntie’s little apartment in Yonkers, NY. Grandma’s table was tight in a tiny kitchen, and the kiddos had to ask to be excused and crawl underneath to exit the room. We’d go play while the grown-ups lingered over espresso and fruit. No rushing, no agenda. A cheery “Ciao!”, humble meal, and la amicizia for all.
Sometimes unexpected guests would show up and there’d be a flurry of chairs pulled up and more places set. The welcome was always genuine and the simple food, plentiful. My eyes and ears, like ping pong balls, bounced around amid the blend of voices, personalities, and topics swirling like the spaghetti on our plates.. Even then, I was a captivated listener.
Listening is really an art, you know? Being still enough to attend to another, quieting the mind and the “yeah, but” impulses, getting curious about what triggers us…so many nuanced elements are involved in setting a table where guests may relax and feel truly seen and heard. Even those unexpected guests who drop by without warning and catch us off-guard. Especially them.
So, with this first blog post, I set the table and invite you in. Do you have a hunger? Are you thirsting for something in your life? Join me in a Space of Allowing and be fed.
Now, please pass the parmigiana.